"The king was grieved, yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he commanded it be given; he sent and had John beheaded in the prison."
Our lives can be so complex. Our emotions and what drives us to do what we do can be simple as well: complicated and at the same time, simple. John the Baptist had been criticizing Herod for sleeping with his brother's wife, so Herod had him thrown in prison. At a seemingly wild party, his mistress/sister-in-law had her daughter perform, what I am guessing was, a provocative dance for Herod and the assembled guests. In joyful exuberance, he congratulates her saying, "what can I grant you for such an arousing performance," and she, having been primed, asks for John's head. And then Matthew gives us the quoted text above where Herod's concerns lie with being embarrassed in front of the assembled crowd in regard to an oath given when, more than likely, he was not really "thinking with his brain."
What drives us when we are making decisions? How often does pride, concern about our position/standing/perception in society enter into that process? Which is more important, that place we occupy in the minds of others, or the value of another's well being? Easier to ask than to truly answer.......
Copyright 2011, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Creativity in Waiting, 2010, jfd+